Why Does My CO Fire Alarm Keep Going Off?

Do you have one or more CO alarms in your property, that you are having issues with? Do they seem to be going off at random occasions or just continually sounding? This is a common problem we come across time and time again.

Before you start removing batteries and putting you and your household at risk, have a look at this post please as we address some of the things that could be happening if your CO alarm keeps going off and what you should do about it.

What is CO Gas and Why is it Important to Use CO Alarms?

CO is the chemical symbol for Carbon Monoxide, an incredibly deadly gas that does not have a taste, colour or even an odour. This obviously makes it difficult, almost impossible to detect.

CO Fire Alarm

Within the home, CO can be generated from any appliance that burns fuel. This includes wood burning stoves, gas fires, and gas boilers as three of the most common examples. CO increases if there is poor ventilation, the vents are not positioned in the most effective places, the flues or vents are blocked, or the appliance is not functioning efficiently.

Therefore, it is crucial to have the appliances you use that burn fuel checked regularly. Obviously, this kind of work should only be handled by a Gas Safe accredited professional.

As it is hard to detect CO on your own, in the same way as you can other gases, it is advised that you invest in CO detectors for your home. Which brings us to the question posed at the start of post.

Why Your CO Alarm is Going Off

There are several reasons why your CO alarm might be going off, including:

  • It’s working properly and detecting CO in the atmosphere
  • Other household items are causing it to sound even when there is not CO present
  • The alarm’s batteries need to be changed or the unit needs to be repaired/replaced

 

To help you get to the bottom of that irritating alarm noise, we will take each of the above reasons and break them down a bit more to help you find the best solution.

It’s Working Properly

In the first instance, we’d probably all jump to the conclusion that the alarm is working properly and its detecting CO traces in the atmosphere. This means that even if it’s from your own home or a neighbour’s, there is CO getting in somehow.

Under the circumstances, you should immediately carry out the following steps to reduce exposure to this harmful gas.

  • Turn all your fuel-burning appliances off, including fireplaces, central heating, cookers and anything else
  • Open all the windows and doors around your property to vent it properly
  • Call out a professional and fully qualified gas technician to locate the source of the problem and solve it before you use that appliance again
  • Beware of the symptoms of CO poisoning including headaches, vomiting, and dizziness. If anyone in your household is suffering from any of these, call the fire service and get them to somewhere with fresh air
  • Avoid going back into your property until it has aired properly and been checked, and the appliances have been repaired by a qualified technician.

By far the most common cause of your CO detection alarm going off by an appliance that burns fuel has not been checked regularly by a professional and is not working properly.

In all other cases, it’s caused by the following.

What if it’s Giving False Alarms?

As noted earlier, CO alarms can be triggered by just about any appliance that burns fuel. These kinds of appliances, like ovens, boilers, and cookers do give off trace amounts of CO, but nothing particularly harmful. However, the levels rise if there is a problem with ventilation or there just isn’t adequate ventilation.

A further issue is the fact that many cheaper, lower quality alarms will sound if they detect hydrogen or petrol fumes. The problem is when you have stand-alone CO detectors that are not particularly effective, you need to look to their instruction manuals to try and work out if an alarm is real or not.

Therefore, many experts advise only investing in high-quality CO detection units that come recommended by fire safety and gas safety officials. 

The CO Alarm’s Batteries Need to be Changed or it is Faulty

obviously, it is just as likely, and often the case in many situations that the alarm is sounding even when there is no CO present because the batteries are running out or the unit is damaged. The best way to check either is to replace the batteries.

CO Fire Alarm

Once you have replaced the batteries if the alarm works as it should, then there is no further cause for alarm/ However, if the beeping still occurs and you’ve replaced the batteries, it is likely that you will be best just replacing your unit.

Although everything related to this tasteless, colourless and odourless gas should be taken seriously, we’ve hopefully shown that there is not always a need to panic straight away. By following the clearly laid out tips above, you should be able to get to the bottom of what is causing your CO alarm to sound incessantly. If you have any doubts, contact a professional.